Small-scale mining: Tropenbos Ghana urges government to introduce reclamation bond

Small-scale mining: Tropenbos Ghana urges government to introduce reclamation bond

Ghana - 04 July, 2022

Tropenbos Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), has called on the government to introduce reclamation bond as a condition for the issuance of permits to small-scale miners.

Mrs. Mercy Owusu Ansah, Director of Tropenbos Ghana, who made the call said, reclamation was the way to go to help restore degraded mining sites, lost nutrients, and minerals in the soil. This, according to her, was necessary because the operations of small-scale miners were destroying arable lands and posed a threat to the ecosystem and food security in the country. “Government should introduce restoration as a condition for small-scale miners before they issue permits to them to start operations at the mining areas whether formal or informal mining,” she noted.

Mrs. Owusu Ansah, was speaking to the media on the side-lines of a national multi-stakeholder dialogue on mining organised by Tropenbos Ghana in Kumasi, as part of its “Securing Food and Ecosystem Services in Mining-Plagued Regions of Ghana” project. The four-year (2018-2022) project is funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). The project seeks come out with a harmonised integrated land use within the mining communities in Ghana, through research engagements and policy discussions.

The meeting brought together traditional leaders, miners, farmers, district assembly representatives, officials from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Minerals Commission, and land owners to discuss laws, roles, challenges, and other pertinent issues in the mining landscape. It was held under the theme “Community Mining and Integrated Land Use: Reconciling prospects and challenges of securing food and ecosystem services for sustainable local development. Mrs. Owusu Ansah said although there were adequate mining laws in the country, what was lacking was their enforcement and called on the government to ensure strict enforcement to address the lapses in mining.

Mr Joseph Osiakwan, Technical Director at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR), said the multi-stakeholder dialogue was an important initiative to complement government’s efforts in addressing the challenges associated with small-scale mining. To ensure sustainable and environmental friendly small-scale mining, he said, the President through the MLNR recently commissioned some 100 mercury-free gold extraction machines. This, he said, formed part of the government’s efforts to regulate and manage the country’s mineral resources, sanitize the small-scale mining sector, and eliminate the use of mercury in the processing of gold. According to him, the equipment, which has the capacity to recover 90 per cent gold ore without the use of mercury, would ensure that mining is carried out in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Mr Kwame Appiah Owusu, the project Coordinator, indicated that small-scale mining was critical to Ghana’s economy and provided employment for Ghanaians, hence there was an urgent need to address its appalling state for progress. According to him, Tropenbos Ghana under the project had been able to rehabilitate 3.88 and 2.4 hectares of plots at Manso Yawkrom and Asarekrom, respectively. It has also rehabilitate 2.9 hectares of plots at Agyareago in the Asante Akim Municipality. About 12,000 hectares of cocoa farmlands have been lost to due to illegal mining, according to a Tropenbos Ghana research. The research also reveals that these lands were given out by the cocoa farmers themselves.